Slow Fashion: Thoughtful, Thrifting and Thriving (PART I)

Nov 08, 2022
Slow Fashion: Thoughtful, Thrifting and Thriving (PART I)

New report reveals the fashion industry increased its emissions in 2022

On the eve of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), which starts on Sunday and this year is held in Egypt, a shocking new report reveals the fashion industry is lagging on its goals to reduce emissions by 2030.

Data from’s 2022 Fashion Supply Chain Emissions Report shows this has been a year of increased emissions despite the very public commitments and promises by fashion companies to reduce carbon output from previous years.

Key Findings:

Fashion brands are still off track to meet the 1.5-degree emissions pathway, and most are still going in the wrong direction. Two of the brands, Nike and Inditex (Zara), reported manufacturing emissions of close to 10 million tons of CO2e—the equivalent of more than 2 million gas-powered cars on the road per company.

While many brands showed a ‘Covid dip’ in emissions in 2020, eight out of ten brands’ supply chain emissions climbed again in 2021, putting them further off-track to meeting their emissions goals. While COP26 led to some interesting discussions about digital ID's that track a garment's production history and curbing excess manufacturing, most fashion conglomerates in 2022 have operated with a 'business as usual' attitude.

“Fossil fuels have no place in a rapidly warming world, and certainly no place in our closets,” Gary Cook, Corporate Campaign Director for said. “Fashion brands must move to rapidly decarbonize their manufacturing by committing to 100 percent renewable energy for their supply chains, and phasing out fossil fuels as a source of energy, fabric and fuel.” 

The fashion industry needs to adopt transparency measures as current annual reporting and sustainability updates are opaque. Quantifiable data should be provided that inform whether companies are on track to meet targets while reducing and ending reliance on fossil fuels. 

The fashion industry is currently responsible for approximately 5–8 percent of annual climate emissions, with some signatories to the climate accord failing to reduce the emissions deadline of 2030 if changes are not made soon.

100 billion pieces of clothing are produced worldwide each year and more than 15 million tons of used textile waste is generated in the United States alone. fashion aims to refocus our energy towards shopping smarter, becoming more informed, and more mindful. Vivienne Westwood said it best: ‘Buy less, choose well, make it last.’ Simply put, slow fashion is a much-needed reaction to fast fashion.

Slow fashion is all about creating, as well as shopping for higher quality items that are designed to last. The growing movement encourages a variety of sustainable practices, including forming a connection with the environment and reducing toxins and waste. The principles of slow fashion include: sustainable materials, fewer collections, fair trade, minimizing waste, making great use of resources and transparency.

Every choice you make matters: from the clothes you pick to your earring types, shoes and bags. The good news is that everyone, regardless of budget, values and time constraints, can find ways to reduce their closet’s impact.

What Does Slow Fashion Mean?

Slow fashion is a concept that opposes fast fashion. The movement advocates for conscious production, distribution, as well as mindful consumerism, as a response to the fashion industry that is polluting and wasteful.

Why Is Slow Fashion Important?

As opposed to fast fashion, slow fashion encourages initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint, child labor and other unethical industry practices. Moreover, sustainable fashion advocates for fair treatment, fair wages, good working conditions and fair trade. The use of sustainable and natural fabrics and conscious consumerism is encouraged.

Is Slow Fashion Better Quality?

Slow fashion garments predominantly come in natural and organic materials. The fabrics and the cuts are designed to last longer. In general, manufacturing slow fashion garments and accessories takes longer and the workers are paid fair wages, so the results are better quality-wise.

Slow Fashion Guide:

1. Treat Fashion Like Food to Avoid Waste and Toxins

As a general rule, avoiding waste is imperative and just as important as making sure that you are not wrapping yourself in fabrics loaded with chemicals. Eco fashion respects ethical standards and uses mainly sustainable textiles. Here are some easy slow fashion principles and steps you can take in order to get you started:

Read the labels in order to make sure they are of high quality, devoid of toxins (like synthetics, plastics and harmful dyes) and ideally organic.

2. Become a Smart Shopping Detective

Connect with ethical fashion brands on social media, ask questions about their company and products, materials, sources, and production process.

Read the About Us page of the fashion brands you are interested in. The more details they have about their commitment to slow fashion, the better.

Dig deeper: Are they a trustworthy slow fashion brand? Where does the fabric come from? Are they actively against fast fashion? How do they place in terms of environmental performance? Where are the clothes made?

Look up their certifications. Specifically, check whether the natural fabrics you intent on buying come with the GOTS certificate, which means they are monitored in every step of the full supply chain.

3. Ditch the ‘Barely Wear’ Culture and Save Big

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation released a report titled, A New Textile Economy, which details that the amount of clothing produced has doubled since the year 2000. On the other hand, clothing utilization, meaning the number of times a clothing item is worn, has decreased by 36% in the recent years, according to the same report. The cause of all of these: the opposite of slow fashion, aka the ‘barely wear’ culture (also accurately called ‘throwaway fashion’). These stats are significant, especially considering that the overwhelming majority of these throwaway clothes are simply discarded and just around 1% is actually recycled. The past decade has been especially worrisome.

Do not throw anything away for 6 months – then reevaluate the items in your closet.

Only depart with a high quality item (by donating it or selling it) if you haven’t worn it in the past 2 years.

4. Slow Fashion Tricks: Apply the 30 Wears Test for Easy Decisions

Here’s a trusted method that provides great results. Livia Firth, the founder of Eco Age (a company involved in accrediting brands for their sustainability and slow fashion practices) came up with ‘The 30 Wears Test’, a great resource for fashionistas. She created her #30 Wears campaign to stimulate fashion lovers to ditch impulse shopping and to only buy a piece if they know they will wear it.

Before purchasing, ask yourself: ‘Will I wear this jacket or this pair of pearl earrings at least 30 times?’ If yes, head to checkout.

If the answer is ‘no’, resist impulse shopping. No need to invest in items that won’t last longer than a season in your closet.

Alternatively, you can opt for made to order clothing. You will be supporting local businesses and making sure the item you end up with will be worn 30+ times. Made to order clothes from the local seamstress might take more time to make, true. But you get to be involved in the design process, pick your fabrics and avoid overcomplicated supply chains.

5. Declutter & Create a Slow Fashion Capsule Wardrobe

Many over-consumerism issues start from a problem with a very simple solution: disorganization Curating a capsule wardrobe filled with quality staples is the obvious answer to these problems. Plus, capsule wardrobes are definitely in line with the cornerstones of slow fashion.

Capsule wardrobes that follow slow fashion fundamentals are not large in number – so always choose quality before quantity.

Only shop for sustainable textiles and versatile pieces you can wear in multiple combinations.

6. Break up with Bad Influence(rs) to Achieve Your Goals

Unsubscribe from newsletters from influencers and brands that promote fast fashion. Doing so will save you money and hours of mindless scrolling and keep you on track with the slow fashion movement.

Unfollow influencers who promote trends and fast fashion on social media. Most influencers promote clothes that are not made of sustainable textiles and that are trend-based.

Identify your impulse shopping triggers and remove them.

Find new sustainable fashion influencers to follow – ones that will inspire you to shop sustainably and ethically.

7. Stick to Natural Fabrics to Reduce Chemicals

Before you purchase a new garment, make sure to get informed about ecotextiles and natural fabrics. Here are some good options you can start incorporating in your wardrobe today:

Linen – As one of the oldest natural fabrics used in clothing, linen is natural, safe, supple enough for clothing and made out of the flax plant, which takes months to grow.

Organic Cotton – Unlike cotton (over 90% of regular cotton is genetically modified), the organic variety is not sprayed with pesticides. This means you, the workers and the local vegetation and animals are protected.

Wool – Produced naturally by sheep, goats and alpacas, wool is a great alternative for fall and winter clothing.

Peace Silk – As the more eco-friendly version of silk, this luscious fabric is the result of a slow, natural production possible with the help of silkworms.

Hemp – Closely related to linen, hemp has been grown for thousands of years, and it’s currently used in combination with cotton for a softer feel.

8. Ditch Impulse Shopping for a Shift in Mindset

Set a limit, such as buying one item a month. Doing this will force you to make sure that you are buying the best possible item out there and invest time and thought before purchasing.

Alternatively, set a rule of waiting 24 hours before actually buying an item you desire. Fast fashion fades – and so will your desire to opt for it.

9. Take Care of Your Clothes to Make Them Last

One of the most important aspects of slow fashion is to make sure the garments you invest in will last for a long time. The fashion industry often makes sure that that won’t happen. But from religiously following the label instructions to natural ways to keep pests at bay, there is a wide range of methods and tips when it comes to making sure you’ll still be able to wear your favorite clothes in 5 years’ time. Here are a few of the sustainable fashion basics you can start applying today:

Protect your clothes while cooking to avoid staining.

Use a laundry bag for delicates to prevent potential damage.

Always sort your laundry accordingly.

Always make sure to respect the washing indications on the label.

Wash clothes inside out to prevent distressing.

Hang your clothes dry instead of using the tumble dryer.

Natural fabrics (especially wool) attract moths, which you can combat by using cedar oil and lavender.

Avoid over-washing – an essential slow fashion fundamental that is easy to do.

10. Slow Fashion: Thoughtful, Thrifting and Thriving

opting for second hand items and shopping at thrift stores. In with the old clothes, out with the new clothes! Going thrift shopping means you are actively keeping plastics out of landfills, as well as contributing to the decrease in demand for fast fashion.

Go thrift shopping with a list in order to prevent impulse-buying and over-spending. 

source: Stand.Earth report 'Major Fashion Brands Increase Emissions in 2022'

Posted by Abiteks


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